“BE JOYFUL IS HIGHLY PROBABLE” Pastor YAU
Philippians 4:4-7 August 15, 2004
INTRODUCTION: Joy is not exactly the same as happiness. In most instances, happiness is the result of things we secure or environments we are in. It is the product of the outside while joy is on the inside, regardless of whatever on the outside. Joy is a condition of the mindset while happiness is a condition of emotion. Happiness depends on things of this world, but joy depends on our spiritual condition.
SOME BASIC PRINCIPLES OF JOY: (4:4)
1) JOY IS “IN CHRIST”: When Paul, the Apostle, was writing to the readers, the Christians at Philippi, to encourage them to be joyful, he had all the believers in his mind. Joy is not reserved to the privileged few, but to all those who read his letter. While some may think that only those who have so much, live a worry-free life, all things are smooth and successful may have joy, the Bible gives us a different answer: Joy is for everyone who seeks the right way. Paul introduced a simple but effective step to be joyful and it is “in the Lord.” (4:4) Jesus predicted that there will be tribulations and suffering in this world, but He promised them they will have peace and joy if they stayed in Him
2) JOY IN THE LORD IS ALWAYS: We all have experienced short term happiness. When things changed, people changed and conditions of happiness changed, we are back to square one. But joy is different. Since the Lord is never changed, His power and love never changed, his care and wisdom never ceases, and His ability to keep us close to Him never stops, the joy we have “IN HIM” will never changed. Any fluctuation of joy in our life is a sign of our departure from Him. It is for our benefit to keep close to Him, the source of true joy.
3) JOY IN CHRIST IS ACHIEVABLE: Few people had more difficult life than that of Paul. In his letter to the Corinthians, he listed some of the more serious painful experiences in his life. Yet, he repeatedly wrote to his readers to encourage them to be joyful. His secret is: he didn’t depend on other for his joy. He didn’t look to things he might have for joy. He did not build his joy on things this world may provide. He built his joy by depending on the strength the Lord gave him. (4:13)
PRACTICAL STEPS TO A JOYFUL LIFE: (4:5-7)
1) CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE: BE GENTLE: (4:5) Besides “gentle”, the original Greek word may also be translated as humble, restrained, not-insisting or demanding. This is the key to a joyful life. Many people believe that the world and the people in it owe them everything. They insist and demand people act according to their pleasure. And they expect others cater to their demands. When things or people don’t meet their demands, they get upset and therefore lose their joy of life. Christians need to know that we bring nothing into this world and no one owes us anything, and therefore we are thankful and joyful in all things big and small.
2) CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE OF LIFE: Anxiety, in almost all cases, is useless. It serves no purpose in our pursuit of joy. It causes us to lose focus on the positive side of today and paints a darker picture for tomorrow. It also cuts into our courage to achieve more and higher and makes goals more difficult to attain. Some may even try to legitimize anxiety as being “serious”. That could only make things less attainable.
3) CHANGE YOUR OBJECT OF JOY: When Paul encouraged his readers to pray, to petition, to give thanks, etc. he was not asking his readers to be blind of the problems or difficulties they faced. He was asking them to change their object of focus: from the environment of the world to the all mighty and love God. Focus on His power to provide, to change, to open doors and to lead your way. Our faith in God should be the foundation of our joy.
4) CHANGE YOUR DEFINITION OF JOY: Paul wants his readers to interpret joy in a different way: not using the worldly formula, but the spiritual formula. He asked us to seek the peace and joy of God, not of this world. The peace and joy in God transcends, or surpasses, all human understanding, knowledge or experience. People of God should not use worldly measures or criteria to measure joy. Godly people are inspired by the Holy spirit to see and experience the kind of joy no one in this world will understand.
5) CHANGE YOUR GUARD: Our heart and mind are battlefields Satan always tries to capture. We cannot protect or guard ourselves from attacks of Satan. We need God and His abiding presence to protect and guard us from falling into the skims of the Devil. Nothing, besides God, may protect us form losing the joy Jesus promised to give His disciples. (John 16:33) God is the author and the finisher of our joy.
CONCLUSION: To have joy in our daily life is not merely an illusive dream. It is a promise and reality to those who practice the formula God has prescribed through Paul in the above passage. Examine your life and attitude and see if you are following God’s way in your Christian daily walk. It is probable, more than just possible, that we will have joy in our life if we follow His way.